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Meet 15-year-old Indian innovator who uses Science to solve global malnutrition problem

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By Nishtha

At the age of 15 years, Aarushee Nair has interests like any other teenager – she loves to swim, play basketball and lawn tennis. What sets Aarushee apart is her interest in science and how she is using her research work to help the needy and underprivileged.

Addressing pertinent issues

She has designed a Tetra Pak which can hold 350 ml of clean drinking water and has a separate slot to hold Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS). Through a small beak shaped outlet, the ORS can be administered to infants in the rural areas. She received patent for this design from the Government of India in 2013. Her achievements were even documented by the UNICEF.

She is also working on the second version of this Tetra Pak – to address the issue of malnutrition and clean drinking water.

“World Health Organization (WHO) has a pack of vitamins and minerals and when it is mixed with water, it can provide the necessary nutrients to the child. But it is essential that the water used in the packet is safe and clean. Thousands of infants under the age of five die due to dehydration and diarrhoea. Usage of these Tetra Pak by the government authorities can be extremely helpful ,” said Aarushee, a student of Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, New Delhi.

Ensuring health during calamities

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She has also applied for the patent of another design: an eco-friendly and biodegradable toothpaste dispenser for people affected by natural disasters or living in refugee camps.

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“Wars and natural calamities lead to displacement of people in large numbers. The design I am working on will have four nozzles from where the toothpaste will be dispensed. After any natural disaster, there are chances of communicable diseases spreading in the relief camps. We can also take a cue from the dispenser and use it as a prototype to distribute water and other fluids,” explained Nair.

 

Awards and accolades

Her other achievements include a ‘Young Achievers’ Award by the Department of Science and Technology, Haryana government and a ‘Girls in ICT’ award instituted by International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Geneva among other accolades.

In June 2015, Nair received the International Young Eco Hero Award by Action for Mature USA. She has been invited to San Francisco in October to accept the award.

Using the power of the visual media

To raise awareness about the deprivation of education among the underprivileged children, Aarushee, has produced a five minute documentary called, ‘Taaj Poshi’. She conceived this idea when she saw a 10 year boy working at a construction site along with his younger siblings.

“The intention of making this documentary is to make people aware about the atrocities these working children face on the field. They carry bricks on their heads and cement bags on their shoulders. I even got the protagonist of my film enrolled in a nearby government school but he was forced to quit as his family moved to a new place. Migration for work is also a deterrent for their education,” said Aarushee.

Added achievements

Apart from her interest in science and innovation, she recently got her name in the Limca Book of Records by solving the mirror cube blind folded in record time of 4 minutes and 40 seconds. She started experimenting with mirror cubes in January this year and became proficient within a span of few months.

Plans for the future

When asked about her future plans, she said her career path has been clear for years now. She wants to become a gynaecologist. She wants to work for mother and child care in rural India and also travel to different parts of the country to make people aware about population control.

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